The incomplete maternity building at the Gajendra Narayan Singh Sagarmatha Zonal Hospital, Rajbiraj. Funded by the Indian Embassy, its construction has remained stalled since five years.
RAJBIRAJ, Aug 17: A number of infrastructure projects funded by India have remained in limbo for years in Saptari district. Some of them have not completed even in after a decade though expected to complete in three years.
“They started it, but have not completed it. It has only added to the hospital's problem,” said Manoj Yadav, an official at the Gajendra Narayan Singh Sagarmatha Hospital referring to the incomplete construction of a maternity ward. “The construction had started 10 years ago and was expected to complete within three years. But till now it remains incomplete,” he informed adding that there has been no activity at the construction site since five years.
A separate maternity ward for the hospital was a welcome step. In lack of such ward, women and children have been deprived of maternity related services in the hospital for long. With the construction in limbo, service seekers have been quite disappointed. “In fact, the 'support' of the embassy has turned out to be a headache for us. Incomplete projects are good for nothing,” remarked Yadav.
Locals claim that the Local Development Ministry and other government bodies have shown no interest in completing the project despite multiple requests from the hospital administration. The 21.7 million rupees contract to build a two storey building with 28 rooms was awarded to Diva Narendra Udaya Das JV by the District Development Committee (DDC) through a tender process. So far only 60 percent of the construction has completed. “In lack of a separate maternity ward, hospital services have been greatly affected,” Yadav said.
Apart from the hospital, the Indian embassy had also funded the construction of girls' hostel in Rajbiraj. Its construction is in limbo, too.
Foundation stone of the hostel building for female students of Mahendra Bindeshwor Multiple Campus was laid down in 2005. As per the agreement, the embassy was supposed to handover the hostel to the campus in 2007. “Initially the construction work at the site had started with great speed. But gradually it came to a halt,” said Kishore Kumar Yadav, central president of Student Forum. He added that the project was abandoned abruptly even though nearly 80 percent of construction had completed. “The building with 56 rooms is waiting for doors and windows, among parts. Even in a decade, it's not complete,” said Kishore adding that the local administration has remained mute so far and has shown no willingness to take initiative for completing the project.
District Development Committee in Saptari reported that over 90 percent of the budget meant for the hostel has already been released. The embassy had agreed for Rs 10.9 million for the construction of the building.
In December, 2009, economic counselor at the Indian Embassy Punit Kundal had urged with Shekhar Kumar Singh, coordinator of the building construction committee, for completing the construction of the building. Similarly, DDC and District Administration Office also had asked Singh for completing the project. However, Singh has not completed the project stating that he needs additional funds for completing it.
( Under-construction girls hostel building of Mahendra Bindeshwari Multiple Campus. Though nearly 80 percent of the construction is completed, the contractors has denied to complete it citing insufficient budget. )
Low quality construction
The road linking Kunauli and Fattepur was black topped last year. However, the blacktopping on this road, funded by the Indian embassy, lasted only a few weeks, locals recall.
DDC technicians blamed the poor quality of the construction work done by the contractors. Along with the poor quality, the contractor had completed only half of the contractor. The agreement was to blacktop 10 kilometers of the road section, however the contractor had abandoned the project by blacktopping only half of it. The embassy had provided Rs 2.9 million rupees for the project.
According to Thansingh Bhansali, president of Saptari Civil Society, monopoly of the contractors, construction committees, DDC and district administration office is the reason behind delay of the projects. "It is due to the lack of sincerity of those bodies. Nobody monitors whether things are going on properly or not. Projects worth millions of rupees are stuck without serious reasons, and people who could have received service are deprived of it," he said.
However officials at the DDC have a different appraisal of the situation. “Since the tender is finalized by us, we should take responsibility to some extent. However, it seems that the embassy does not look serious in implementing the projects that it provides funds for," said Dhirendra Kumar Yadav, project monitoring officer of DDC, Saptari.